A job role working in schools as a teacher assistant (TA) can be rewarding where you help children develop and learning. Cons & negative side off being a school TA can overwhelm someone new to the role if unprepared or not supported by experienced school staff.
You find you’re self juggling different priorities each day from lesson preparation, admin tasks, talking to parents and supporting teachers in class.
15 disadvantages of being a teaching assistant
- Dealing with school student’s inappropriate bad behaviour.
- False accusations reported against you by school pupils.
- Dealing with challenging behaviour from special educational need pupils while supporting learning.
- School teaching assistant stressful job role.
- Heavy workload, and could take work home.
- Very few UK full time TA jobs or permanent contracts.
- Term time only work and low salary with many contracts pro-rata.
- Fixed term temporary contract of employment in UK schools.
- School pupils treat teacher assistants differently to teachers, and in relation to respect.
- Only a few school jobs in the local area where you live.
- School asking a teacher assistant to conduct duties they’re not trained at short notice.
- Limited scope for TAs to progress to school management.
- Keeping up with changes in the national curriculum and school education policy.
- Working with class teachers with different TA expectations in class learning and teamwork.
- Little recognition as a school TA.
Teacher assistant school job role negatives
A class teaching support assistant at a school is not one of the glamour’s roles with management responsibilities and generally comes with low paying salary, leaving you question if its work it, or career change jobs. You as a TA are in class, and at school to support teachers in pupils learning, non skilled roles of class preparation, cutting & sticking worksheet & learning aids
You do of course assist pupils in class answering question, give guidance on completing set work, although you work with a teacher in primary school who has control and learning direction of the class.
Dealing with school student’s inappropriate bad behaviour is certainly a major con of being a class teaching assistant in UK primary or secondary schools. For example in secondary school teenage boys will kick over a bin in front of they’re friends and say “Did you see that” looking for attention or showing off. Another example is drawing graffiti on school walls to place they’re tag; seen it all as an inner city high school teacher.
TAs at primary and secondary school age could find it difficult enforcing one or more school rules dealing with challenging behaviour of certain individual pupils that require close monitoring or firm guidance as you’re not seen as an authority figure.
School teaching assistant stress in the job role can take a toll on inexperienced & seasoned school TAs. Is being a teaching assistant stressful? Yes, for many people that has short term temporary jobs, as you’re new to the role. You’re dealing with a busy class teaching support timetable, meeting set targets of pupil learning, constant change, conflicting demands of teachers, and occasionally covering for absent school staff at short notice, which increases workload.
When you first start as new class assistant you’ll experience work & pressure stress, although with experience, support and training most of the stress of being a TA with school pupils will alleviate.
False accusations reported against you as a TA by school pupils is always at the back of a person’s mind while working with children. I was a school teacher and occasionally one or more pupils would claim or make a report about a school staff member that mostly was untrue. The school pupil was either retaliating against school rules or seeking attention.
Dealing with challenging behaviour from special educational need pupils while supporting learning, it’s not bad, although more difficult teaching a child a topic when they have a sight, hearing or speech impairment. TAs face daily disadvantage & challenges understanding or explaining classwork if they’ve received little training from the school working & supporting SEN pupils.
Heavy TA school workload, and you could be expected take work home. Some schools can take advantage especially if you’re a HLTA they can try to have you plan and deliver lessons to whole classes too much covering teacher absence or long term shortage.
Is being a TA a hard job? No, if you’re training & prepared. In primary school you’ll be kept busy juggling many duties from class support, pupil reports, intervention lessons, meetings, playground duty, admin, contacting parents & outside agencies and lesson preparation.
TAs should have enough time in the school day to complete all duties without bringing work home to complete, or preparing teaching resources, unless you’re doing too much or being taken advantage.
Very few UK full time school TA jobs or permanent contracts and a low salary for class assistants which is a major disadvantage if looking for a full time job and livable wage. Secondary & primary school class support assistant roles are offered term time only work and salary with many contracts pro-rata, meaning you’re not paid for school holidays. Big disadvantage is teacher assistants are already on low wages for the job role duties & responsibilities, and are one of the lowest paid in UK school pupil education.
Also, another con for TAs is if your working part time and only 1-4 hours daily teaching assistants don’t get paid for breaks, unless it stipulated in they’re work contract.
School pupils treat teacher assistants differently to teachers, and in relation to respect. Some school students, parents and even teachers see teacher assistants as helpers, although not true. Students will see you as helpful, although the authority of teacher in school in a lot of cases carries more weight than TAs, although you could have build up a good rapport and receive respect from all students.
Only a few school jobs in the local area where you live where you could require to travel to a village location, another town or city to work at a primary or secondary school. There’s only a certain amount of schools in one local area and being offered a TA role could be a competitive interview process with other applicants, as a TA role requires less skills and work experience.
School asking a teacher assistant to conduct duties they’re not trained at short notice. Level 3 TAs can find themselves teaching whole classes for days if teacher absence, or even trying to teach lessons you have no qualification or subject knowledge.
Limited scope for TAs to progress to school management as a school TA is not a teacher who has a combination of qualifications, work experience and required skills for senior leadership roles.
Working with class teachers with different TA expectations in class learning & teamwork can be a bit frustrating and getting use too. You’re basically setting lessons up to different standards, team teaching different ways and fulfilling a teacher’s expectation on how a TA should support learning in the classroom. At the same time you’re dealing with hundreds of individual school pupils potentially trying to remember names, procedures and practices for each teacher, lesson or activity.
Little recognition as a school TA can occur in some UK schools with teacher assistants get little recognition or overall awareness for the role and effort they provide at school towards students learning progress, behaviour management or standing in at short notice for teacher absence. As a HLTA you can teach whole classes, PPA, small groups & 1:1 students learning, although a disadvantage at times could result in a small group of unruly bad behavior pupils being dumped or assigned for you too teach getting them out of the subject teacher’s class. For many of people you like you’re school job, although others question if its worth being an HLTA